Wednesday, February 17, 2010
When it comes to growing up, I remember a couple of interesting mornings in February at St. Joseph's Church. The first was February 3, the feast of St. Blaise, the patron saint of throat illnesses. In elementary school, we'd head next door into church with our classes for the 'blessing of throats'(as the story goes St. Blaise saved a small boy's life who had swallowed a fishbone) and kneel at the altar rail. The priest then placed two blessed candles crisscrossed under our throats and said a short prayer. I guess as far as the other parts of the body went--- it was good luck! The second and even a more intriguing day was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It was the day after all that partying and debauchery(see today's image from placard on Congress Street). On our way to school, we'd stop by church to get ashes on our foreheads(placing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of repentance). The 'cross of ashes' usually stayed there for a couple hours. Now for me, it was a time at Lincoln Junior that you got to find out who all the other Catholics were in school besides yourself. "Oh god... Shelly's a Catholic?" We'd say. Back in my seventh grade classroom there were ashes everywhere. Today? They're hard to find.